I hadn't been as familiar with Mona Charen as I have been, for example, with Ann Coulter, but I assume that is because Ann's always got her face on Fox, which I'll tune in for five minutes here and there while inhaling a sandwich out in the kitchen. I'd known the name, but it was one of those that I wasn't even sure on which side of the fence she was. Well, from reading Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First I'd say that she's as sharp as Ann, but willing to leave religion at home, and not as eager to "make trouble"!
I have frequently written how I wish that liberals would read some book or another that I had just gotten done with, just to see themselves in some other context, and I had that same desire cropping up again and again while reading this book. Charen starts this with the end of the Cold War and how the Left has been desperately trying to re-write history to make it look like they never were on the wrong side of it. Throwing harsh light on the lies, she uses extensive research to show the trend from the early days of support of the Soviets through blatant disregard of all Communist atrocities, and the constant refrain that "if it wasn't for (America's sins), none of (fill in the current bloodbath) would be happening". Millions of deaths at the hands of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and their admirers are brushed away by the left with platitudes that make lingering racism and economic stratification in the U.S. seem like worse crimes.
Frankly, I should try to steer clear of books like Useful Idiots as I really do try to maintain a certain equanimity in my life, and reading the tales of what can only be called treason by nearly half of the political spectrum riles me up. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful that books like this are out there to shed light on the "emperors new clothes"-like pass that the Left gets, but when I'm done reading something like this I end up so frustrated that people who, by all rights, should have been hung as traitors decades ago manage to have thriving careers in politics, the media, entertainment and academia with nobody even asking why they're still breathing!
Once again, I wish a LOT of people would read this ... I would, honestly, like to have liberals read this and give me their take on it ... although I suspect it would be the old "oh, you're still seeing commies under the bed!" feint. Now, this is still in print, and you can get it from your local bookstore for twenty-eight bucks, but why not take advantage of Amazon's new/used vendors ... there are currently nine copies of the hardcover edition for 1¢ (or an even $4 with shipping), ranging from "good" to "like new", available from those guys. Come on, four lousy bucks to have your eyes opened to the perfidy of the Left ... what's keeping your from looking?
By the way, this was another of the books finished on my recent long road trip, and I suspect that it will amuse some that this was finished on 8/20 when we were in Boise.